Actual AMD Press Release
OCC News Post
AMD chips made on the 65-nanometer process will consume about 30 percent less energy than the same ones produced on the 90-nanometer process when running at the same speed. In the first chips shipped on this process, virtually all of the benefit comes in reduced power consumption, said Nick Kepler, vice president of logic technology development at AMD.
Later, the company will balance energy conservation and performance gain, depending on what the designers want to achieve with various desktop, notebook and server chip designs, he said.
The improvements in part come because AMD is straining the silicon in the transistors inside its chips with a silicon germanium film to improve performance, a first for the company.
Straining silicon improves the performance of transistors because the larger germanium atoms slightly rearrange the silicon atoms and thereby allow electrical carriers to move more rapidly. In the N-channel transistors, which carry negative electrons, germanium spreads out the lattice of the silicon; electrons flow more freely, sort of like a deer running through a forest that's been thinned of trees. In P-channel transistors, which carry positive charges, the germanium compresses the silicon atoms.
"We planned it (silicon germanium) all along with 65-nanometer, but we were prepared to pull the plug on it if it didn't add up to a benefit," Kepler said. "Adding embedded silicon germanium is probably the biggest change."